Friday, June 29, 2012

Mergansers and tanagers

Ok, clearly this is one of the things I will be spending time doing in retirement. Bird Watching. Well with my dear husband and I it looks more like this.

Himself: Look, look, on the stump. There.

Me: Where, where, what stump?

Himself: There, right in front of us.

Once sighted there is much ooing and ahing. Then the bird book (actually books) come out.

Himself: I think it's a finch.

Me: No, I think in the sparrow family......

Much time passes as I look through 700 plus pages trying to find a matching picture.

Me: Well, it could be a (insert something from New Mexico here), oh, but they never get up this far.

Himself: Maybe it's lost.

Me: Maybe it is an escaped budgie from the next campsite.

Second book comes out - also over 700 pages.

Me: What does the pink colour mean on the map?

Himself: (well actually by this time my dear husband has headed in for a nap)

Me-muttering to myself: How do I know what kind of beak it had? Yellow spots on tail feathers, how would I see spots on tail feathers?

Hours later.....

Himself: Figured it out yet?

Me: Yup, western tanager!

Himself: I don't remember the wings being black.....

Me, wistfully: Maybe it'll come back tomorrow.

And it did! TADA!

And yes, we also saw a merganser, but don't ask me what kind.....I need to get better binoculars.

And then there was that unfortunate incident in Yellowstone last year where I was convinced we had found the only two nesting whooping cranes in the United States. (They turned out to be sandhill cranes, but they did look like something that should be instinct.)

It took me a year to figure out those big, brown speckled birds are Flickers (thanks to my dear sister). AND, the bird song I love most of all since I was 14 I just found out is a chick-a-dee. People say that the hummingbirds that come to our feeder are Anna hummingbirds, but they don't look like the picture in my is so complicated.

Oh my god, this is exciting.......

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I miss you

I haven't written for a month. It has been a busy month, and I have lots to share, but that is not what this post is about.

I miss you. We have known each other for 52 years. Your 52nd birthday was 23 days ago. I didn't wish you a happy birthday. If I had, I don't know how it would have been received.

I miss you. We shared our lives intimately for a few short years when we were both young and newly married. We would shop together on saturdays. We would swim, and run, and ride bikes together. We would spend New Year Eves together. You were there for me. And I was there for you.

Our relationship, from the time we were teenagers, was not an easy one. At times we were confidants, at other times rivals, although I was never sure why. I think we competed for our mother's love. I think, but I am not sure.

We spent our pregnancies in silence after the first trimester. I was never sure why it happened the first time. I know why it happened with the second babies. It made me sad both times.

But, we moved passed that and kept each other company as new mothers. Both trying our best. We supported each other.

We became entangled in our mother's competition for our love with our aunt. I didn't want to choose, but I was forced to. Sides were taken, history has unfolded.

I called you a few years later, after my mother-in-law's sudden death. I made a gesture and you graciously accepted. We took our children to the ranch and had a lovely weekend together. Fences were mended.

It has been tenuous since then. We spent time by our mother's hospital bed. We picked out a gravestone together. I remember that day well. It was raining, and I had a terrible headache, but together we laid our mother and father to rest.

I miss your laugh, and your quirky sense of humour. I love your capacity for compassion when others are suffering.

I know that you have one perspective. I have another. Each of our siblings has a perspective and they are all true. Every one of them.

Our last exchange was angry and hurtful. I was protecting the heart of one while neglecting the heart of another. I was protecting my heart.

I believe that we have made agreements with everyone in our lives prior to incarnating here, at this time, in this place. I believe you and I made an agreement to be what we are to each other. We have forgotten those agreements. We will meet again after this life and realize that we kept those promises and learned from them when we needed to.

But I have not forgotten you. I miss you, and I hope that one day we will find our way back to each other. I hope it will be a true meeting, not just polite, and we can be sisters once more.

Our mother, our aunt, our father are all gone. We don't have to compete anymore.

Standing on the shore

When my daughter graduated from high school I gave her this poem by TS Eliot.

At Graduation (1905)

Standing upon the shore
of all we know
We linger for a moment

Then with a song upon our lips,
Sail we across the harbour-bar.
No chart to show.
No light to warn of rocks
Which lie below.
But let us yet
Set forth courageously.

I think this is how I feel today. The reports are done. The good-byes are said. The promises are made that we will stay in touch. I am not so naive to believe that to be true.

And now?

And now.

There are campfires ahead. And knitting. Some poetry to publish. Perhaps a book to write. There are languages to learn. There are promises to keep. There is company to enjoy.

There is an endless ocean of time filled with joys and sorrows, births and deaths, friends and family, fights, and hopefully, reconciliations.

I used to say that I wanted to live to be ninety-five, and I wanted to die in my sleep, in my own bed. I am going to change that. I want to live until a hundred and five, and I want to die doing something brave.

So, perhaps this blog will take on a new tone as I begin the life of a retired person. There won't be much money, but there will be love. There will always be love.